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Government Agencies Request More Resources for Forced Labor/UFLPA Cases

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Government Agencies Request More Resources for Forced Labor/UFLPA Cases

On July 26, 2023, the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”) issued the first annual update to its guidelines for enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevent Act (“UFLPA”) in a Report to Congress titled “2023 Updates to the Strategy to Prevent the Importation of Goods Mined, Produced, or Manufactured with Forced Labor in the People’s Republic of China” (“Updated UFLPA Strategy”).  This report is the first strategy update since the UFLPA came into effect a little over one year ago.

The Updated UFLPA Strategy explains how several agencies have significantly reallocated resources to meet the requirements of the statute.  This includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), which leads FLETF, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which monitors CBP’s enforcement efforts and provides expertise on forced labor, supply chain tracing and due diligence, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducts criminal investigations, including from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and at other locations in China.  Each agency identified near and long-term resource gaps in continuing its ongoing work. 

CBP noted a particular need for additional resources, explaining that it has already added sixty-five new positions to support its UFLPA enforcement efforts.  The additional resources would help train and develop its workforce “on the complexities of supply chains, risk management, and forced labor.”  CBP is also investing in new data analytics systems, including piloting the Advanced Trade Analytics Platforms, deploying enhancements to the Automated Commercial Environment, exploring improvements to the allegations submission portal, and exploring emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, laboratory testing, and distributed ledger technology to identify and interdict goods made with forced labor.   

Notably, since FLETF issued the Updated UFLPA Strategy, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) ruled that in Enforce and Protect Act (“EAPA”) proceedings, CBP must release business confidential information it relies upon to importers under an administrative protective order (“APO”).  As explained in a previous post, the Federal Circuit ruled that CBP has inherent authority to use APOs in appropriate circumstances, even in the absence of an explicit statutory authorization, and that denying an importer access to this information denies its due process rights.  The Federal Circuit’s ruling may also require that importers have access to all confidential information relied on by the government in UFLPA enforcement proceedings.  These requirements are likely to result in an even greater need for additional resources for government agencies than anticipated in the report, or at lease a redirection of resources already planned.   

The Updated UFLPA Strategy also explains that in addition to CBP’s current enforcement efforts, DHS will now send referrals of allegations of forced labor to Homeland Security Investigation field offices to pursue criminal investigation and Federal prosecution, as appropriate.  The report also explains that while CBP will continue to focus its enforcement efforts on all sectors, it will prioritize the highest-risk goods, which are those imported directly from Xinjiang and from entities on the UFLPA Entity List, and the highest risk sectors, which include cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon.  Finally, the report notes FLETF’s continued engagement and outreach efforts with nongovernmental organizations and private-sector entities.  


How to Deal with Employee Absenteeism

While on average an employee would miss 54 days of work in 2020, the logistics sector holds an unfortunate record: one of the highest annual increases in absenteeism, putting it just behind the health sector, i.e. 32% over one year. Beyond the exceptional sanitary situation, the supply chain is facing a chronic problem of workforce retention. What HR and organizational levers should be used? Here are a few ways to encourage employee commitment and well-being… and reduce absences.

In its annual survey based on data from 671 companies and more than 350,000 employees, Gras Savoye Willis Towers Waston confirms that absenteeism has increased sharply and steadily over the last five years, particularly in SMEs and ETIs. If the first containment has had an obvious impact, it is far from being the only explanatory factor. While the “transport and logistics” category now holds second place in the sectors most affected by this phenomenon, the study reminds us that the average cost of absenteeism in a company of 1,000 employees varies between 1.7 and 3.5 million USD per year. The weight of logistics activities in this loss of earnings is considerable. Faced with the growing risks of delays and shutdowns in the supply chain field due to lack of personnel, here are three steps for dealing with absenteeism.


1. Offer visibility to employees regarding the impact of their tasks on the entire operation

Just like remuneration or benefits offered by the company, the quest for meaningfulness is now well known as a major lever for commitment to the workplace. But how to motivate employees when the tasks they are entrusted with are by definition simple and repetitive? As a manager in the logistics sector, taking the time to regularly explain the stakes and the purpose of your job to each employee, and being able to give them concrete and personalized feedback on the impact of their work, is a way to give meaning to low-skilled logistics functions. Examples include employees knowing which customer profile is ultimately targeted, having details on the products handled and the marketing promise, knowing and understanding all the other technical steps upstream and downstream of his or her intervention. This type of information will help everyone understand his or her role in the supply chain, and therefore, empower teams individually and collectively.

Today, integrated HR tools and advanced warehouse management solutions offer a comprehensive view of current operations and can provide data and visibility to managers.

To learn more about technology that can help you optimize your workers’ performance and increase motivation, read our WMS – Decision Making Guide

2. Invest in technology and robotics to reduce drudgery

Implementing voice command devices for operators or equipping them with exoskeletons is a way to limit strenuous movements and loads carried, thus reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Some companies are even starting to equip themselves with ‘cobots’, these robotic collaborative assistants that help employees prepare orders and reduce their movements.

Used wisely, these tools have the dual benefit of reducing the risk of sick leave and work-related accidents while optimizing overall warehouse performance.

3. Incentivize employees through game-based management

Sometimes alone at their workstations, with no real opportunity to communicate with their colleagues for long hours, supply chain operators can legitimately feel isolated. Keeping them motivated is a daily challenge for managers and HR. Gamification is one way to encourage commitment, pride of belonging and team concentration. For example, it is a matter of organizing interactive performance contests, between peers or between teams, aiming at collecting a maximum of points to obtain symbolic or material rewards. Or measuring the quantity of plastic recycled by each person, with rewards at stake. These challenges can also encourage employees to follow professional training courses or to respond to co-optation campaigns. These initiatives contribute indirectly to the fight against dropping out of the workforce and absenteeism.

Generix Group North America helps distribution & manufacturing companies achieve operational excellence with their WMS & MES Supply chain solutions. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.


Cities With the Most Startup Businesses

Startups are a significant driver of the U.S. economy. Each year, thousands of entrepreneurs launch new businesses that create jobs and spur innovation and efficiency across the market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 420,000 startups accounted for 2.2 million new jobs in 2018.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurship in the U.S. has been declining for decades. In the late 1970s, the startup formation rate in the U.S.—defined as the number of new firms in a given year divided by the total number of firms—was nearly 14 percent. Four decades later, the rate was just above 8 percent

One of the major factors contributing to this trend is firm concentration. In recent decades, many sectors have shown a trend toward consolidation and greater concentration in the market, making large firms even larger and more successful through economies of scale, network effects, and other incumbent advantages.

Economic downturns also tend to slow startup formation, and the Great Recession’s effects on new business creation have proven to be especially stifling over the last decade. Unlike in past recessions, when a dip in startup activity has been followed by a period of growth, the overall startup formation rate fell in the wake of the Great Recession and has more or less remained flat at around 8 percent since. With less economic security due to a long, uncertain recovery, many potential entrepreneurs chose to minimize their risk and forgo new business opportunities. This is especially true of many would-be founders now in their late 20s and 30s, who graduated in a poor job market with large debt burdens.

This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more economic hardship, and the unique circumstances of this downturn have created an even more complicated picture. In addition to the typical barriers to entrepreneurship that a recession creates, different industries face divergent fortunes in the era of shutdowns and social distancing. Certain sectors have become even more entrenched in daily life, creating new opportunities for growth in areas like e-commerce, video conferencing, online education, and collaboration tools. On the other hand, COVID-19 is likely to further suppress startup activity in many sectors like accommodation, food services, and retail. In recent years, these fields have experienced stagnant or declining startup formation rates. Today, the prospect of entering these industries will become even more daunting with consumer concerns about health and safety stifling demand and increasing overhead costs.

New startup formation is distributed unevenly across geographies as well as industries. Most of the states seeing the highest rates of new business creation are based in the western and southern U.S., led by Nevada (10.39 percent) and Florida (10.16 percent). Many of these states offer some combination of business-friendly policies, low individual and corporate tax rates, relatively low costs to operate, good educational institutions, and population growth that provides both a customer base and a market for labor.

Unsurprisingly, at the metro level, most of the leading hubs for startup formation are found in the states with the highest levels of startup activity. Many locations in the West and South continue to see strong rates of new business creation and associated job growth. To find out which metros are leading the way, researchers at Roofstock calculated the trailing five-year average startup formation—defined as the number of new firms in a given year divided by the total number of firms. The research team also analyzed the impact of startup activity on job growth.

Here are the large metropolitan areas with the most startup business activity.



Startup formation rate

Annual startup formations

Annual new jobs created by startups

Jobs created by startups as a percentage of all new jobs

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV     1      11.44%     3,467     21,074 17.82%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL     2      10.95%     4,861     25,533 16.68%
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX     3      10.61%     3,858     21,357 16.49%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL     4      10.46%     14,894     69,769 18.57%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX     5      9.82%     10,731     69,696 15.11%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO     6      9.64%     5,590     28,485 14.69%
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ     7      9.63%     6,108     37,785 14.02%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA     8      9.52%     9,140     48,582 14.14%
Jacksonville, FL     9      9.50%     2,474     11,796 14.41%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX     10      9.48%     9,214     55,475 14.44%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA     11      9.47%     24,718     144,716 18.05%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL     12      9.47%     5,174     25,792 12.31%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA     13      9.40%     4,867     28,137 16.10%
San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA     14      9.28%     5,599     27,338 15.13%
St. Louis, MO-IL     15      9.09%     4,715     19,078 12.22%
United States     –      8.13%     423,148     2,285,251 14.12%


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Roofstock’s website: